a word of caution to all sellers & consumers

I really should’ve blogged about this earlier, but couldn’t quite find the time amidst the wonderfully hectic weekend. As mentioned in one of my recent tweets, I read on a baker’s blog that one of her photos had been stolen, and much to my horror, I landed on the site’s gallery only to find one of my works unabashedly displayed without credit, posted with a copyright symbol (no less), claimed to be hers.

The website belongs to Leonice of Dreamy Cupcakes:

http://www.cupcake-dreamy.net/

I dropped her a mail on Thursday night to remove my said photo from the above collage (the original at the beginning of this entry), and as expected, I didn’t receive any reply, but the photo was removed as of Sunday evening.

Looking through the gallery, it is easy to recognise that there is a clear disparity between the quality of images, which only suggests that a significant number of the photos had been stolen off Flickr. As such, here is a word of caution to all bakers/sellers out there. Do look through the gallery to see if any of your works had been stolen.

For all the consumers out there, this also has a direct impact on you as customers. Because of this unethical behaviour of the owner of Dreamy Cupcakes, you are being led on to believe that all the photos on her gallery are her own work, and hence you will be assured of the quality of resultant product. However, as illustrated on a parenting forum thread here, the results could potentially ruin your whole party:

“I went online and was in love with the pics on the website … I specifically asked for their 3D cartoons cupcakes but was totally disappointed when i received them … [t]he delivered cupcakes were nothing like those on the website.When I tried to contact them subsequently via emails, sms etc. I got no reply. It was really frustrating as i end[ed] up having to get a replacement cake.”

Even though it’s been mentioned that the only thing bakers can do is to email her to get the photo(s) removed, and unfortunately, consumers may have to learn through a horrid experience, I believe awareness will go a long way, so spread the word!

32 thoughts on “a word of caution to all sellers & consumers

  1. the mister

    Since this is a family-friendly site, I shall refrain from any vulgarities.

    But SERIOUSLY,

    WHAT. THE. F***.

    Wow, I really hope whoever else’s pictures she STOLE gets wind of this.

    Hopefully a really cheesed off baker with a LAWYER husband.

    Heh. I REALLY wonder how many of the so-called reviews are even REAL.

    Really. The gall of such people. WTH.

    I’m really glad you got wind of this, luv.

    These words of my brethren, I send her way;

    Let her mark them well; should one day they ring true.

    ‘Tak slamat lah eh orang – orang macam gini’.

    Heh.

    Reply
  2. Sandy

    Once you create something it is copyrighted…I don’t think people realize that. Just because it is on the web doesn’t make it free domain. I don’t think people realize that either.

    You need to get yourself over to Creative Commons and make you a copyright notice to put on your blog and anywhere else you can:

    http://creativecommons.org/

    and let the person know in no uncertain terms you can and will take legal action if the images are not taken down or attributed correctly.

    Reply
  3. ingrid

    That’s pathethic! Spreading the word is definitely the way to go. You can also contact the hosting platform and they are supposed to notify the blogger that they have to remove the photos,etc.
    ~ingrid

    Reply
  4. ovenhaven Post author

    bie: Yup, as it is, one of my followers retweeted it, and it turned out that another tweep had her photo stolen as well. For the life of me, I can’t understand how anyone could have the ethics to cheat customers that way.

    Sandy: Thank you for the link, Sandy. I hate how some people think that the Internet is a free-for-all space.

    ingrid: ‘Pathetic’ definitely puts it succinctly. I’m glad that my photo had been removed, but I sincerely hope that everyone else whose photos had been stolen would realise it as well, and take action immediately.

    Reply
  5. oneordinaryday

    This is just rotten. I began to add watermarks to my pics for this very reason. What is wrong with some people?

    Reply
  6. ovenhaven Post author

    oneordinaryday: I absolutely have no idea how such people can actually believe they’d be able to conduct business this way. I’m tempted to say “How do they sleep at night!”, but I know the answer would be “With no guilt whatsoever.” Oh, the nerve!

    The Little Teochew: Thanks for the shoutout, dearie. A little word spread goes a long way.

    Reply
  7. Sandy

    That is why I rarely put a lot of pictures up on the internet. People have no shame. I have heard of a lot of bloggers photos being lifted off their sites onto others.

    One thing you can do, but it may keep some traffic from your site(s) is to NOT tag your photos and only name them with number such as a date like 11262009. A lot of people will do searches and of course all those tags and keywords will show up.

    I NEVER name any pictures I put on websites anything other than a number, sometimes something random, and never tag anything (it goes to say that you really really should do that for pictures of your family and kids…pedophiles can find your pictures that way too). I don’t get a lot of hits from people looking for those things, but then again **most** of my images are safe too.

    Reply
  8. ovenhaven Post author

    zurin: I feel really disappointed with her, because as a fellow seller, she really should understand the effort and hard work put into each creation. Ah, some people are just unethical.

    Sandy: Thank you for all the tips. I agree with the tags, I should do that from now on. The photos that were stolen was taken off Flickr, and I do believe it’s because of the tags. Thanks again for all the tips you’ve passed on🙂

    Reply
  9. Sandy

    I think Flickr has a thing where you can automatically put a Creative Commons license on the stuff…I forgot where I saw it though…worth looking into.

    Reply
  10. ovenhaven Post author

    Sandy: Thanks for the heads up!🙂

    family first: Oh dear, glad to have spread the word. Hope the baker will notify the site owner soon.

    Mrs Multitasker: Not a problem. Thanks for dropping by🙂

    Reply
  11. gina

    oh dear! She did this to my friend who bakes to sell and also is a Wilton teacher. Some people knows no shame. I bet she just removed yours when you alerted her and goes hunting for another one. I am naming her big time in my announcement section in my cooking/baking forum.

    Reply
  12. ovenhaven Post author

    felicia: Gosh, it happened to you before? The sheer audacity of some people!

    Corina: Thanks for spreading the word!

    gina: Apparently quite a no. of customers had been duped by unmet expectations, and a lot of bakers have had their photos blatantly ripped! Thanks for the shoutout, Gina; I hope this will raise more awareness.

    Reply
  13. Olive

    what?! how could they do that, I sell baked goods too including cupcakes and I would never do such a thing..that is a shame. I have borrowed photo early in my blogging days but I never did claim it to be mine, I just don’t know who owns it …

    Thank you for spreading awareness on this🙂

    Reply
  14. ovenhaven Post author

    Ellie: Wow, even your posts? Now that’s really pathetic. I don’t understand how anyone could go around doing such a thing.

    Olive: Precisely. I wrote in to her, saying how she must really either have every intent of misleading her customers, or have an utterly thwarted sense of self-esteem to be passing off others’ creations as her own. And as a fellow seller, she should understand the hard work put into each creation, right? Harumph!

    Helene: I know! Gah, the audacity of it all.

    Reply
  15. Sandy

    They steal posts because they really don’t want to put forth the effort to make a website/blog. Usually those people get paid in some way and when they steal your stuff and sometimes even link it to your blog as a way to get hits to get their pages at the top of the search lists. I have had plenty of people steal my posts…I really don’t care because I don’t have a big readership anyway…but I don’t allow them to trackback to my blog. I always delete any links from those phoney sites to mine so they can’t get the benefit of having a lot of links to their blog for search purposes.

    Reply
  16. ovenhaven Post author

    Shannon: Thank you for notifying me. She removed it on Nov 22nd and last I checked (Dec 3rd), it was permanently removed. Apparently she just posted it back up again, thinking no one would notice. For that, I thank you so much for alerting me. Some people just never learn their lesson.

    Reply
  17. Sandy

    You may have to keep an eye on her. You should also contact an attorney and see what they recommend and even the Better Business Bureau and report her (I am assuming she is in the United States…I didn’t give her the benefit of the click).

    I am not sure what good that would do, but if she got a letter from a law office it might make her think twice about putting the photos up that you already asked her to take down and if it doesn’t then you at least have that already done if you decide to proceed with legal action. If there is a mailing address for her send her a certified letter stating she is infringing on your copyright and she should immediately take down the photos.

    These are all my opinions by the way and just suggestions. I am not sure how far you or anyone else wants to take it…but you CAN take legal action against this woman since your photos are your copyrighted content…and she is basically creating fraud by selling something that isn’t hers (the desserts in the photos).

    Reply
  18. ovenhaven Post author

    Sandy: She’s actually based here in Singapore. I think the situation’s resolved now; I have already contacted someone to deal with her directly.

    Gemma: Thanks for the shoutout. The photos are mostly stolen from Flickr.

    Reply

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